Some of that busyness is related to a fair bit of travelling around. The latest issue of OPERA contains my reviews of an intriguing, often outstandingly well sung Die Frau ohne Schatten (Simone Schneider, who sang the Empress, is definitely a name to watch) at Oper Leipzig; it happily coincided, when I was there, with Die Feen, a work for which my enthusiasm, having finally seen it in the theatre, is now a little dimmed, even if it contains some delightful music. (I wondered why Gernot's jolly Act-1 Romanze doesn't pop up more often -- wouldn't it make a good piece for recitals and competitions? I can't find it on YouTube, so here's the lovely duet for Gernot and Drolla again, which was sung in Leipzig but cut at Chelsea Opera Group's concert performance last year)
There's a review from Dresden, too, where I saw a luxurious Simon Boccanegra at the Semperoper (with Christian Thielemann and his Staatskapelle showing impeccable Verdian instincts), plus a joyous performance, in the courtyard of the Residenz, of Strauss's Feuersnot, effectively semi-staged as part of the Dresden Festival. Hearing the work live has made me more and more convinced of its quality. Musically it's fantastic, full of melody and glorious orchestration, while there's a lot to like in what one might grandly call its 'philosophical content': a rejection of petty morality for a life unencumbered by the rules that contain and control by inducing guilt. (The US-based musicologist Morten Kristiansen has written a great deal about the piece, incidentally, and describes it very neatly as representing Strauss's final abandonment of the Wagnerian doctrine of Entsagung and Erlösung, in which love--and sex--get uncoupled from Wagner's philosophical trappings.)
|Photo (c) Matthias Kreutzinger for the Dresden Festival|
Anyway, here's the whole thing, in a film I've just found of a concert performance from Munich earlier in the year, which -- coincidentally -- features Simone Schneider, on stonking form, as Diemut. Highlights include the Rosenkavalier-esque outburst of Waltzes at 26'55; Kunrad's 'Feuersnot' at 34'30 and the Love Scene, from 1:22'35. It's great stuff.
Oh, and I went to Munich and Salzburg a couple of weeks ago, too.